Catherine II of Russia, called the Great (born Sophie Friederike Auguste, 2 May 1729 – 17 November 1796) reigned as Empress of Russia from June 28, 1762 until her death 34 years later. Born a German princess who converted to Eastern Orthodoxy after marrying the future Tsar Peter III, she was an example of an enlightened despot.
A common story states that Catherine II, a woman with a voracious sexual appetite, died while attempting sexual intercourse with a stallion - supposedly the harness broke and she was crushed. This is a completely untrue story. Nonetheless, the story persisted throughout the centuries, until the invention of the time-viewer dispelled it, to the disappointment of some.